Theatre review - Are You Being Served, Empire Theatre, Blackburn

“Are You Being Served” – Blackburn Drama Club – Empire Theatre, Blackburn

“Are You Being Served” – Blackburn Drama Club – Empire Theatre, Blackburn - Credit: Archant

Blackburn Drama Club stage an adaption of the famous 1970’s sitcom.

David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd are the masterminds behind some of the most well known British comedies including, “Allo, Allo” and the 1970’s household favourite, “Are You Being Served” which was set in a fictional department store in the 1950’s and was based on the real-life experiences of Jeremy Lloyd. “Are You Being Served” was best known for it’s lewd comedy style, slapstick humour and endless stream of innuendo and ran for over ten years. It even spawned a feature film in 1977 which was an adaptation of the successful stage show brought to life, this evening, by Blackburn Drama Club.

The story is a simple one, but one that also has a lot of avenues to explore. The staff of Grace Brothers are taking stock of some new German goods just before they all jet off to sunny Spain to enjoy a two-week break staying in a one-star hotel. On arrival they discover their rooms won’t be ready until the next day, so, following a mix up of dialect, they end up sleeping under canvas for the first night where, as you can imagine, things don’t go according to plan.

The key to recreating a story with big characters is ensuring those characters are brought back to life just as the audiences remember them. At the Directors helm was Therese Ball who had a huge task on her hand to pull together all the elements of this funny, well written script, but also capturing the brilliance of Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft’s exuberant characters in the process. Once again credit must go to the set designers and builders who have worked tirelessly in first transporting us back to the Grace Brothers department store and then whisking us off to Spain with the rest of the cast in the second act.

Therese Ball has mastered the pace and frenetic nature of the play beautifully and worked hard with the timing and delivery of the story. Credit here must also go to the efforts of the make-up, hair and wigs teams who brought the characters to the forefront of the stage in the guise we would all recognise.

Portraying such popular characters is not an easy trait, but this talented cast have managed to do just that and provided us with an evening of fun, laughter and hilarity along the way. Everyone involved has worked extremely hard with their characters and special mention must go to Robin Brown for his portrayal of not just one, but three different characters throughout the story. Roy Washington as a very convincing and authoritative Captain Peacock and Jaime T. Ball showed us an array of her talents from acting to dancing.

There were three special performances that stood out from Neely Jillings as Miss Brahms who maintained her role to perfection, accent included, throughout the duration. Claire St Pierre as Mrs Slocombe in a role performed so flawlessly that you would honestly believe Molly Sugden was up there on the stage and finally the performance of Mr Humphries by Martyn Pugh which was outstanding and incorporated everything from the original role complete with his subtle charmness and effeminate mannerisms.

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“Are You Being Served” is a title that is known all over the country and by name alone should entice the audiences to go along, but with excellent performances from the cast, it really gives even more reason to see it.

So, if “You’re Free” between now and Saturday 28th April, get down to the Empire Theatre in Blackburn for a night you will never forget, nor ever want to.

The show continues on Thursday 26th April to Saturday 28th April at 7.30pm. For tickets visit the Empire Theatre website at –